New Orleans Merry Christmas! Having said that, here’s a story about the Christmas spirit of giving, though perhaps with a twist, turn, and surprise in the direction of Wikileaks.
Yesterday I posted a Wall Street Journal article on the increasing expenditures by Wiklileaks, which contrary to the impact they have had on the global scene (we can argue merits, but the impact is unassailable) is a very small outfit by any organizational reckoning. They have gone in a very short time from a small but sustainable operation piloted and driven by volunteers and spending about $150,000 annually to a million dollar operation this year paying Julian Assange, the founder, and 5 or 6 other people. Most of the article focused on remarks from the Wau Holland Foundation in Germany which handles the “back office” for Wikileaks, receives donations, processes invoices, and pays the bills. Wau Holland was named in memory of an early hacker so it is simpatico to Wikileaks and has beyond bullying by all of the forces aligned to shutdown their websites and silence their voice.
In retrospect part of the reason I posted the article was sort of a passive aggressive move to push in front of people the fact that it really is possible to give money to Wikileaks. I was amazed a couple of weeks ago to hear a story from a friend of a US-based community foundation that received a donation of $25,000 with the request to forward it to support Wikileaks. They ended up returning the donation claiming that they could not figure out where to send the money. Under closer questioning it seems that they in standard foundation bureaucratic sclerosis had sent a couple of emails to Wikileaks asking for paperwork and a process for sending the donation and hadn’t gotten a reply to these feeble efforts so simply returned the donation. I was horrified. Here is Wikileaks, which I have unfortunately come to identify with as being under what I would call “global ACORN attack,” denied desperate resources because they are not a typical nonprofit on one hand and because of flat out laziness by the funds distributor on the other. Meanwhile in the American salaryman’s daily, The Wall Street Journal, owned by Assange’s fellow Aussie Rupert Murdoch of Fox fame, there have been several articles over the last six months which have gone into the internal business of Wikileaks and its relationships to not only Wau Holland but other direct pay services outside of the PayPal and Visa chickens of the world.
One of my Facebookers responded to my passive posting by pointedly asking if I was recommending that people donate to Wikileaks. Asked point blank, I bit the bullet, and said, “damn right!” And, the more I’ve thought about it, the clearer I am that if folks have an extra couple of bucks, they ought to saddle up and send it to support Wikileaks.
Despite the problems encountered by the USA community foundation, it is not really that hard to give money to Wikileaks. I did a blog on this on October 26 entitled “Wikileaks Complex Internal and Financial Structure” much of which was based on earlier pieces in the Journal (August 23, 2010) which discussed Wau Holland as well as several non-PayPal alternatives for direct giving, especially Flattr.com:
“…UK called Moneybookers, which seems to have been abandoned, and the other Flattr.com in Sweden, that seems jazzed to help Wikileaks…”
So besides being under the gun around the world, is Wilileaks worth a couple of your bucks?
In the USA Wikileaks has a love-hate affair going on with the government and with folks desperate to read each revelation and the higher ups condemning it roundly. Pick a side! It is a little easier to be thankful for some of the word that is getting out to citizens especially in Latin America and Africa. Much of the news is simply that the State Department is such a strong arm of American business, but that’s not really so much news as confirmation of what we already understood. In other countries where the USA is a big dog barking, it has been enormously important for these clarifications to be understood and the posturing to be replaced with proofs. Diplomacy in my view will be improved by these leaks rather than harmed. On balance I think it’s not perfect, but it’s a good thing to know more rather than less and to have some accountability rather than all of this monkey business and mischief, so, yes, it’s worth your donation.
So if the Christmas spirit moves you today when you aren’t throwing away wrapping paper, watching whatever game is about, stuffing your face or taking a nap, take a walk on the wild side and punch up www.flattr.com or write a check and lick some stamps and sent some cash over to Wau Holland Foundation in Germany for Wikileaks. It’s not too hard to find the address, when you Google them there are only more than 26 million items that come up on the search, so this is not exactly a well kept secret.
They are clear on their website that they not able to answer questions about Wikileaks blah, blah, blah, but their information is:
Wau Holland Stiftung
Bank code: 52040021
Or as I say, go “old school” and send it to their postal address and mark your check “For Wikileaks”:
Wau Holland Stiftung
Stiftung means “foundation” in German. Another time we’ll look at them, because this is a small labor of love for friends of this dude who run their whole show on less than $100000 per year, so you might want to throw in a couple of bucks for them, too, but whatever….
So here’s to feeling some love for the Wiki-folks on a Christmas day!